You don’t actually need a music degree to make it as a performer in the music industry because a lot of what you need can be done on your own. Things like learning music theory and practicing for hours to perfect your skill are all things you can and should be learning from the time you set your sights on a music career. A degree helps, however, in many ways. If you want to enter the production end of music, you definitely have an advantage with a degree. Teaching is almost entirely out of the question without one.
Performers, however, gain two very valuable things by studying for a degree. These are things that are invaluable. First, you get the chance to learn from masters in their field. There are things that only working side-by-side with these individuals are you able to pick up. They know the subtle differences that set one musician apart from the rest. These are things you can’t learn simply by reading or even watching a performance by the person. You need to see their creative process. A second advantage is the connections you gain. Networking during these years will be invaluable in finding work in the future. Belonging to music organizations, socializing with many in and outside the music industry, and being part of a community that lives and breathes music is something that you can’t do on your own.
One thing that people won’t tell you is that it doesn’t always matter what school you attend in regards to the reputation of the school as a whole. What is more important is who you get to learn from, what experiences you will be able to have, and how prepared a program will make you to enter the music industry.
The 12 Best Music Colleges in Texas
1. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a small school with tuition that rivals many of the larger universities. Their music program allows you to specialize in an instrument, vocal, or jazz. Arranging and conducting are also subjects that are covered in depth. Near both Fort Worth and Dallas, the campus gives students access to big city life while maintaining a small community on campus that is decidedly Christian-oriented.
- Cost: $34,500
- Size: 1,683 undergraduates
Music students at West Texas A&M can choose one of four areas of study: Music Composition, Music Industry, Music Therapy, or Music Education. Be prepared to perform a song in a foreign language during your audition if you want to enter the voice program. The program features 32 staff members for the 300 students, which makes for small classes and time for one-on-one instruction. The number of ensembles available for you to participate in is numerous.
- Cost: $21,485 (resident), $22,891 (non-resident)
- Size: 7,355 undergraduates
3. Trinity University
Trinity University offers music education to any student wanting to participate in ensembles. Their value includes the need for diversity and inclusion in all things. Students are also encouraged to join one of the many groups that are focused on sustainability, which includes a beekeeping program among many others. The campus offers a quiet environment that allows for an environment that makes learning less stressful than on many larger campuses
- Cost: $60,664
- Size: 2,443 undergraduates
4. Dallas Baptist University
Dallas Baptist University offers seven different degrees in Music. The Music Business degree is further specialized into four areas. This program is truly wonderful for those who know exactly where they want to focus their efforts. Graduation from this program requires students to perform in public before graduation. Students in the College of Fine Arts get the rare opportunity to spend time not only with other music majors but also artistically minded individuals interested in visual arts and communications. Sharing skills and perspectives can help create a richer background.
- Cost: $43,019
- Size: 2,883 undergraduates
5. Rice University
At Rice University, you get the opportunity to study under true geniuses in their field. The staff has Pulitzer Prize winners and Grammy winners among its members. The education here is the most individualized of music programs throughout the world. The focus here is on classic orchestra music and voice. Located in Houston, students have the opportunity to perform in one of the largest urban areas of Texas, giving them the chance to build their portfolio and make connections that can help throughout their careers.
- Cost: $67,102
- Size: 3,989 undergraduates
6. Stephen F. Austin State University
With over 200 recitals a year, music students at Stephen F. Austin State University won’t lack experience in live performance. In addition to this, there are numerous bands and chorus opportunities to help learn from your fellow students as you perform together. The campus itself offers plenty of opportunities for fun and adventure. If outdoor activities attract you, try fishing or camping. Water recreation and sports are also big on campus. The nearby area offers plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining.
- Cost: $22,732 (resident), $32,860 (non-resident)
- Size: 11,494 undergraduates
7. Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University offers instruction by 75 well-known artists in their fields. Students also experience numerous guest instructors throughout the year, adding depth to their experience. The school itself is small and personable. Students make connections with those in their own and other majors that will be valuable for a lifetime. This program boasts a 90 percent employment rate for graduates.
- Cost: $68,414
- Size: 9,474 undergraduates
8. Southern Methodist University
At Southern Methodist University, students get the opportunity to work on collaborations and experience an internship. This makes this program stand out from the majority of others. Renowned artists lead the instruction and throughout the year students are offered private instruction, a chance to travel to music performances, and take part in a yearly opera. There is even the opportunity to travel abroad to study with even more masters.
- Cost: $76,710
- Size: 6,710 undergraduates
9.Tarleton State University
One thing that makes the Music program at Tarleton University stand out is its Musical Theater. Students get a great opportunity to experience live performances to enhance their experience in front of an audience. With over a hundred years of experience teaching students how to achieve their greatest potential, this school is one of the oldest and most respected music programs in the country. This school also prides itself on students giving service to the community around them.
- Cost: $22,730 (resident), $32,500 (non-resident)
- Size: 11,350 undergraduates
10. Baylor University
With fourteen areas of concentration, Baylor University offers one of the best choices for those seeking a multitude of musical experience. The ability to double-major is always an option as is majoring in one area and minoring in another. For even more experience, you can choose to audition for one or more of the fourteen ensemble categories available. At this school, you have the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in music or open up your boundaries and experience life at a research institute.
- Cost: $64,880
- Size: 14,108 undergraduates
11. University of Texas at Austin
At the University of Texas as Austin, students are encouraged to reach for the stars. The areas of study include such concentrations as Music Therapy and Ethnomusicology. Exploring and understanding the world through music is one of the main themes that underlie the entire Music program. Another thing the school itself prides itself on is its concern for all the students in regards to health and well-being. Physical and mental wellness is stressed and information is given to all incoming students on what they can do should anything not meet their needs in these areas.
- Cost: $27,728 (resident), $55,230 (non-resident)
- Size: 40,163 undergraduates
12. Sam Houston State University
At Sam Houston State University, you not only spend your days learning among the artistic community but you also have exclusive access to living in a dorm reserved especially for those in creative majors. Stages, screens, and studios are all available in this creative living area. Students are even encouraged to present their own performances and artist galleries and hosting events is easy with a catering kitchen and dance area.
- Cost: $23,326 (resident), $33,454 (non-resident)
- Size: 18,805 undergraduates
Our Ranking Method
Many schools offer an undergraduate program in Music. We chose schools based on the variety of areas of study available in the industry, the student to teacher ratio, the number of music organizations available, and the overall quality of the teaching staff. If you are a music college in Texas and believe you belong on this list, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We will gladly consider your information for updated lists.
Whether your dream is Music or whether it lies elsewhere, we know finding the perfect college program can be time-consuming and confusing. If you are seeking to enter college, either for the first time or as an older student, reach out to us. We can help you put order to the confusion and find the program that is perfect for your needs.